Posts filed under ‘Fundacion D-MIRO Mision Alianza’

Producto Creer: How for a Bank Doing the Right Thing Can Pay Off

By Emmanuel M. von Arx, KF16, Guayaquil (Ecuador)

My host and Kiva´s partner organization Banco D-MIRO provides over ten different types of microloans to borrowers in and around Guayaquil: among them loans to finance housing improvements, school expenses, medication, and loans awarded specifically to employees, young clients with a business idea but no experience, and – as Ecuador´s only microfinance institution – discount loans for HIV-positive micro-entrepreneurs. Yet, one borrower group beats all other borrowers in their dedication and commitment to paying back their loans on time: the well over 400 disabled borrowers of Banco D-MIRO, whose payment discipline has turned “their” loan – “Producto Creer” (“Product Believe”) – into the most successful and inspirational product of D-MIRO´s extensive spectrum. The delinquency rate of Producto Creer is by far lower than that of any other major micro-loan type of Banco D-MIRO, which means that borrowers of Producto Creer are better at paying back their monthly rates than any other client group! In these times of economic and social turmoil, Banco D-MIRO´s Producto Creer may be a much needed reminder that it may pay off for banks to do the morally right thing.

Continue Reading 20 December 2011 at 04:00 1 comment

A Typical Day in the Life of a Kiva Fellow: Loan Officer Training (Video Blog Post)

By Emmanuel M. von Arx, KF 16, Guayaquil (Ecuador)

Video posts on a “typical day” in the life of a Kiva Fellow are a time-honored tradition on the Fellows Blog. Without any more words, here is my contribution to the video series of documenting a typical day in the life of a Kiva fellow. Like all previous contributors to the series, I am keenly aware that there is no “typical day” for Kiva Fellows. But taken together, the growing number of “typical day”-videos may at least convey something of the diversity, unpredictability, spontaneity, and joy that a typical untypical day of a Kiva Fellowship entails. Enjoy!

Continue Reading 6 December 2011 at 04:00 3 comments

Visiting an HIV-Clinic in Guayaquil (Part II)

By Emmanuel M. von Arx, KF16, Guayaquil (Ecuador)

One of the great joys and privileges of being a Kiva Fellow is to go along with loan officers when they are meeting Kiva borrowers and new clients. One of my most memorable outings was a visit of an HIV-clinic in a public hospital in Ecuador´s largest city Guayaquil. In the first part of this blog post I recounted how I drove with Nahin Alvarado from Banco D-MIRO´s headquarters on Guayaquil´s Isla Trinitaria to the HIV-clinic at Hospital Abel Gilbert. Nahin is the bank´s loan officer specializing in HIV-positive and/or disabled clients who have the right to receive a discount micro-loan. And Banco D-MIRO is the only micro-institution in all Ecuador to provide financial products especially for these two long-excluded client groups.

Nahin is talking to a patient outside of Guayaquil´s HIV clinic

While Nahin is presenting the bank´s special loan products to the patients in the HIV- clinic´s crowded waiting room, Franklin walks towards me. A strong man in his forties, Franklin is the leader and community organizer of FUSAD (Frente Unido por la Salud y los Derechos – in English: United Front for Health and Rights), a self-help and support group for HIV-positive people, based at the hospital and well known for the professional education courses they provide to their members.

Continue Reading 15 November 2011 at 12:00 4 comments

Visiting an HIV-Clinic in Guayaquil (Part I)

By Emmanuel M. von Arx, KF16, Ecuador

“Don’t be scared to shake the hand of a client with HIV or to drink out of his glass. You cannot get infected that way.” This was the message that Nahin Alvarado repeated over and over during a training session in September with a group of twelve new and somewhat incredulous loan officers of Banco D-MIRO, when I first met him. A loan officer himself, Nahin has been with Banco D-MIRO for over two years, focusing on two very special client groups who – not just in Ecuador – have long suffered from discrimination and lack of access to financial services: micro-entrepreneurs who are HIV-positive or disabled. The moment I heard Nahin so forcefully speak up on behalf of HIV-positive clients, I knew that I wanted to spend a day with him in the field.

Continue Reading 2 November 2011 at 08:00 3 comments

What´s Easier Than Getting Robbed in Guayaquil?

By Emmanuel M. von Arx, KF 16, Ecuador

As much a therapy session as a blog entry, this is the narrative of a recent robbery incident in Guayaquil: It happened two hours ago and my co-workers and I can still feel the shock in our bones. This day had begun like a normal day: At 7.30am Rubi Chaca – the Kiva Coordinator of Banco D-MIRO -, her 16-year old intern Joel Kenny Matias, and I had met outside of the bank´s headquarters, where we were picked up by Roberto, the official driver of the bank. He drove us to the branch office of Guasmo where we gave a training session to the local loan officers, reminding them about Kiva and explaining to them why it is so important that they keep finding micro-entrepreneurs who agree to be listed with their name and photo on Kiva´s website.

Continue Reading 18 October 2011 at 16:00 9 comments

A Song and a Wheelchair Ramp for a New Bank

By Emmanuel M. von Arx, KF 16, Ecuador

What do a song and a wheelchair ramp have in common? If you are a corporate lawyer in Ecuador, you may know the answer. Everybody else, please read on.
Only recently I learned that my host and Kiva´s partner organization Banco D-MIRO has its own company song! It combines a memorable piece of poetry with a rather inspired composition. A recording follows!

Continue Reading 28 September 2011 at 18:00 2 comments

Loan Sharks, Microloans and the Highest Interest Rates Around (they aren’t on Kiva)

Small business owners like Marcia Suqui in Cuenca, Ecuador use their microloans to move forward with their businesses and improve their quality of life. Which is terrific news, because afterall this is the idea driving Kiva: small loans can change lives. But not all small loans can improve a business owner’s standing, because the darker side of the “little loan” market in Ecuador is dominated by loan sharks. Taking a loan out from a chulco, Marcia explains, is actually taking few steps backward…

Continue Reading 24 August 2011 at 08:51 7 comments

A Kiva Fellow’s Photo Album: Six Months Along The Equator

By Tara Capsuto, KF12 Ecuador / KF13 Kenya

I recently concluded my Kiva Fellowship that has spanned 6.5 months, 5 of Kiva’s MFI field partners, 2 continents, countless long haul buses, and roughly 12,000 miles of travel. As a member of Kiva Fellow’s 12th class (KF12) I headed to Ecuador in July, 2010 to work with two of Kiva’s field partners, Fundación Espoir and Fundación D-MIRO. I never would have guessed that when December rolled around I’d be summitting Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and trying to pick up Swahili. That’s because KF13 landed me in Nairobi, Kenya to work with Faulu Kenya, Juhudi Kilimo, and Kenya Agency for Development of Enterprise and Technology (KADET).

From witnessing political turmoil in Ecuador to surviving a matatu crash in rural Kenya, there were definitely some harrowing moments but it’s been a truly amazing journey, a journey, that like Kiva itself, has been all about people.  I’ve been out of the field for several weeks and I haven’t come up with a great way to summarize my experiences as a Kiva Fellow. Each time someone asks, “So, how was it?!” I kind of stammer, generally respond that it was fantastic (it really was), and share an anecdote or two. The truth is, it was a life-changing experience, or rather, a series of experiences, and it’s hard to know where to begin. In lieu of even attempting to be exhaustive, here are some of my favorite images from my Kiva Fellowship.

View from the Summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

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22 February 2011 at 11:10 5 comments

Roller coaster bus rides in Guayaquil

By Ellen Willems, KF13, Ecuador

Riding a bus in Guayaquil can be pretty crazy, even scary sometimes. Cars, buses, motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians, everybody fights for his place in the street. And on top of that the buses fight for passengers.
The bus drivers don’t own the buses; they pay about $100/day to use them. The driver’s income depends on the number of passengers he picks up, so when two buses of the same line meet, the race is on and the already pretty crazy bus ride turns into a scary roller coaster ride.

Continue Reading 15 January 2011 at 12:00

Hot Topics in Ecuador

Earlier this year, in April, MFTransparency.org, an international non-governmental organization committed to pricing transparency, launched its Transparent Pricing Initiative in Latin America. The data collected in Ecuador will be presented during a conference in Quito on November 30th. Awaiting this event, let us look at the laws and regulations currently in effect in Ecuador.

Continue Reading 19 November 2010 at 15:00 6 comments

Who says loan officer training can’t be fun?!

by Tara Capsuto, Kiva Fellow, Ecuador

Armed with training materials and a couple of motivational video messages from staff members at Fundación D-MIRO Misión Alianza, D-MIRO’s Kiva Coordinator, Rubi, and I left behind the bustling commercial hub of Guayaquil for the coastal city of General Villamil Playas. Our mission:  train loan officers for Kiva responsibilities, from understanding how the website works, to conducting interviews and journaling so D-MIRO can post more borrowers to Kiva. Here’s a short description and a video chronicle of our journey, which included some delicious ceviche and inspiring borrower visits.

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20 October 2010 at 15:38 3 comments

The Challenge(s) to Getting a Great Borrower Picture

By Tara Capsuto, KF12, Ecuador

Taking a picture of a Kiva borrower sounds easy enough, right? Snap a picture at his or her business, shrink the photo size, upload to Kiva with the borrower profile. Three easy steps. That´s what I thought before I had the chance to see how very challenging this seemingly simple task can be. As many Kiva Fellows can attest, there are actually lots of challenges to snapping that coveted profile picture, you know that one with the borrower doing their soon-to-be-Kiva-funded work, with good lighting and a big smile? It`s that picture makes you want to make a loan before you even get to the borrower description. I’d like to describe one particular challenge to taking borrower pictures and end with a call for suggestions.

Continue Reading 28 September 2010 at 07:00 10 comments

P2P In Action – Lender and Borrower Connect

By Leigh Madeira, KF10 Ecuador

Seeing as it’s my final week in Ecuador, I decided to take Kiva’s commitment to P2P to the max by meeting a borrower who had actually received a loan that I personally made at the start of my Kiva adventure!  After reading Jose´s profile multiple times over the past few weeks, getting to meet him in person was by far one of the coolest things I have done so far as a Kiva Fellow, not just because we shared a connection through my loan, but because Jose has a very inspirational story and is living proof that microfinance works. 

Me with Jose in his store

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26 April 2010 at 05:28 4 comments

Weaving a Microfinance Success Story…Without the Microfinance?

How did the Otavaleños, Ecuador’s most affluent indigenous group, become so successful? Did microfinance play a role in their development?

Continue Reading 13 April 2010 at 15:36 2 comments

It’s All About the Benjamins, Baby

Although it´s more like Sacagaweas here!

What in the world am I talking about? Well, today, March 13, 2010, is the ten-year anniversary of the US dollar being used in Ecuador. That´s right, most people are unaware that the official currency of Ecuador (and Panama and El Salvador to name a few others) is the United States Dollar.

Continue Reading 13 March 2010 at 05:26 3 comments

Kiva and its Field Partners: Myths and Misconceptions

The more I read the Kiva Fellows blog, the more I realize that there is a lot of controversy surrounding Kiva, its Field Partners, and microfinance in general. While I welcome the discussion, microfinance is a complicated concept and I have noticed that many times the criticisms are based on misconceptions of how Kiva and microfinance really work in the developing world. Below please find a list of the most common misconceptions surrounding the topic along with why, in my humble opinion, they are indeed myths.

Continue Reading 8 March 2010 at 06:47 9 comments

When Microfinance Isn’t Enough: Thoughts from the Rough Roads of Ecuador

Have you ever thought about what the red, white and blue in the American flag represent? While there are many theories, the most popular seems to be the following: white signifies innocence, beauty, and purity (they clearly had the cast of the Jersey Shore in mind when coming up with this one), red for valor and hardiness, and blue for vigilance, perseverance, and justice.

The Ecuadorian flag, however, has the following meaning: the large yellow band represents “the country’s mineral and agricultural wealth, and its extensive natural resources”, the blue signifies “the ocean, and the clear and clean Ecuadorian skies”, and the red symbolizes “the blood spilled by the heroes who died in the name of their countrymen’s Fatherland and Freedom.”

The significance of the yellow in the flag made me pause…if the country has such mineral and agricultural wealth, why is there so much poverty? According to The World Factbook, over 38% of Ecuador’s population live in poverty (compared to 35% in Cambodia, 30% in the Philippines, and 12% in the USA). The fact that Ecuador’s terrain is so “wealthy” seems to directly contradict the amount of poverty seen here.

Continue Reading 22 February 2010 at 04:18 10 comments


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